Deputy Mesa Fire Chief Forrest Smith talks about the fatal plane crash in northeast Mesa on July 17, 2017. Two people were killed.

A 53-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were identified as the two people who died in a plane crash near Mesa Falcon Field Airport on Monday afternoon.

The pilot, Alan Ram, 53, and passenger Krista Buchanan, 22, were found dead at the scene, according to Detective Nik Rasheta, a Mesa police spokesman.

Ram was the founder and owner of Scottsdale-based Proactive Training Solutions, which provides car sales training and dealership management training. Buchanan worked for Ram’s company, according to one of Ram’s friends.  

The Lancair Evolution crashed on the fairway of the 10th hole at Longbow Golf Course shortly before 5 p.m., and the aircraft went up in flames, witnesses said. The golf course is at the northeast corner of Higley and McDowell roads in Mesa. The airport is southwest of the intersection.

MORE: 2 killed in plane crash at golf course near Mesa Falcon Field Airport

Allen Kenitzer, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said that the aircraft reported mechanical problems before the crash.

The Evolution is a single-engine, four-seater light plane.   

An investigation was being conducted by Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials.

According to, the aircraft was travelling from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, when it crashed near Falcon Field. 

Ram was scheduled to host a management event today through Thursday in Orange County, according to a public Facebook event page.

‘He was just a really good guy’

Eric Meza, 36, said he was Ram’s personal trainer when Meza lived in Scottsdale.

He said the two became good friends in the four years they knew each other. They would see each other at least three times a week, whether they went out to dinner, lifted weights or talked about their personal lives.

“He was just a really good guy,” Meza said. “He had a good heart. He would do anything for anybody. He was fun and he was loving.”

Ram would take him on plane trips to Sedona often, Mesa said. However, the last time they made the trip, they almost had to make an emergency landing, Meza said.

Meza, who now lives in California, said he was devastated to find out about the fatal crash.

“When I saw that, I didn’t believe it,” he said. “I was distraught, couldn’t comprehend what happened.”

Meza said that Ram had just gotten engaged and that his fiancee, Melissa, originally was going to make the trip. 

However, she stayed home to take care of their cat while Ram took his secretary, Krista Buchanan, instead, Meza said.

Those at the Proactive Training Solutions office declined to talk to media on Tuesday.  


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